Monday, November 2, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green in Fort Worth

"Essie, what's going on? Why the sad eyes?"
"I'll tell you when we get in the car."

Once secure inside, doors firmly shut, she let the tears flow.

"Mom, can we please move away from Fort Worth? They are just so mean, and they hate me."
"Whoa, slow down a minute, Es. What's going on?"
I pulled over to the curb, put the car in park, and turned around to face her.

"Everyone makes fun of me because I like Baylor. (A teacher) came in our classroom and asked, 'Who likes Baylor?' I jumped up because they said it with a happy voice, and I thought it was a good thing. But then they told me we weren't going to win any more games because our quarterback broke his neck. And then (my friends) jumped in and yelled, "Boo! Boo!' right in my face."

Esther went on to describe the scene and how embarrassed she felt. After a few minutes, I gently said, "Esther, I know that hurt your feelings, but I also know they intended it in the spirit of fun ~ these people love you, they're just big TCU fans and they don't mean it personally at all."

"No, Mom, they hate me and they hate Baylor." In her heightened emotion, she didn't hear a word. Driving up the hill to pick up Basden, she begged me again, "Can we please just move to Waco so we're not made fun of?"

My gut response was to soothe her pain, remove the vehicle of her embarrassment and persecution.
"Esther, if it's really that bad, you know don't have to stick up for Baylor at school."
I started to say, "There are certain things worth fighting for - your faith, your family..."

And then I caught myself.

At what point do we train our children to alter what they love and value in the face of opposition? 
Tailgating with the Keisters
A rainy Baylor Homecoming with the Brogdons and Moffatts
Esther is not perched on a hill, screaming out to all of Horned Frog Country that Baylor is going to win the College National Championship. She's a nine-year-old girl who has a soft spot for the Baylor Bears. She's been given the privilege of attending home games at McLane stadium, cheering on the football team in all its glory, knowing some of the players by name, and snapping photos with cheerleaders in sparkling green and gold uniforms. She's influenced by her two older brothers, older sister, and both parents. She spent last Memorial Day weekend with about fifteen families whom she knows in her heart are like family ~ more than twenty years of friendships with these Baylor families from across the country with whom we still make time to reunite with on a yearly basis.
It is perfectly reasonable that she's a Baylor fan.

Esther surprised us by decorating our foyer one Saturday morning in September
"Essie - theology"
Baylor v. Tech

Baylor v. West Virginia
Baylor families reunion ~ lotsa future Baylor Bears!
Why in the world would I encourage my young daughter to hide under a rock when she feels opposition?

This realization ~ it's not about the Baylor / TCU rivalry, which for most of the year is not a big deal. Starting our marriage living across the street from TCU and having shared life with hundreds of TCU students, several living with us along the way, we enjoy and appreciate a zillion things about TCU. And it's certainly not about Esther being bullied at school. We have the most AMAZING teachers, staff and community, I'm not even going to waste words defending that.

But it is about training our children - and watching them suffer - to stand for what they believe in in the face of adversity. 

Today, it's a trivial rivalry between two successful college programs (that both BU and TCU fans ~ especially alumni ~ should relax and just be grateful both teams are playing so well. Because we all know how not good they were when we were students).

But down the road, the issues get bigger and more critical. Not fickle college rankings, but unwavering commitment to faith, family, and friends. Integrity with the non-negotiables.

I was so quick to want to rescue my daughter.
It's instinctive to soothe her pain, to remove the things that might cause her to experience loneliness and embarrassment.

So little Essie, after our conversation a few days ago, here's what your Momma Bear (pun intended) says now:

Hold fast, hold true. Stay the course with those things which you hold dear, even if uncommon and not popular.

It may not be easy being green in Fort Worth, but just because something isn't easy doesn't mean it's not good. Those TCU Horned Frogs are not all bad. In fact, we're pretty crazy about the ones we get to live life with.
Connor, one of the two former-TCU football players living with us this year. We surprised each other in the kitchen one afternoon by wearing rival t-shirts. His is a Young Life shirt but in BU colors, so he added the Sic Em' pin and captured the amicable moment.
Our friend and next-door-neighbor, Chauncy Franks, TCU's FCA director speaking to Branson's Paschal High School football team pre-game last Friday. What a gem! Chauncy's influence among TCU athletes for Christ is tremendous.
She may not end up 6'7", 410 lbs, but Esther is aptly named to be a woman of great courage.

You knew it was coming... SIC EM BEARS!

**The title of this post is not original ~ thanks to clever MaryCarolyn Gatzke for coming up with that one!